Belfast Telegraph

Father of brain-dead woman in dignity plea

By Shane Phelan

The father of the pregnant woman at the centre of the life-support case in the Republic has appealed to the High Court in Dublin not to prolong his family's ordeal and to allow his daughter be laid to rest with dignity.

"My daughter is dead," he told the court.

"There is nothing they can do for her.

"The chance of the foetus surviving is minimal. I just want her to have dignity and be put to rest."

He was joined in court by his daughter's partner and a small group of relatives and close friends.

Some among the group could be seen brushing away tears during his evidence.

The man's legal team had earlier outlined how it was seeking an order which would allow the hospital where the woman is on life-support to switch off the machine.

Doctors have been unwilling to switch off life-support because of uncertainty over whether they would be in breach of the eighth amendment to the Irish Constitution, which gives equal rights to the mother and the unborn.

The woman has been clinically brain-dead since December 3 after suffering an internal injury and doctors are pessimistic about the chances of the 18-week-old unborn child surviving.

The court heard that the man had already lost his wife to cancer seven years ago. His daughter was his only child.

When asked if his daughter's two young children had been told what had happened yet, he replied that they "know mummy is sick and being looked after by the nurses until the angels appear".

The father told how he was formally told of his daughter's death following tests at a Dublin hospital on December 3.

When he asked why she was still being kept on life-support, he was told it was because the unborn child had a heartbeat and under the law, she had to be kept on life-support.

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